By the time August rolled around many Rays fans were wondering why certain players weren't dealt at the July 31st deadline and even more discussion as to who may get dealt prior to the August 31st deadline. Who could blame anyone for not believing in a post-season birth at that point as the Rays started the month 10.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East race and 8.5 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card race. The Rays posted a fantastic record of 18-10 (a .643 winning percentage!) and finished the month with a record of 74-61 but stilled trailed the Boston Red Sox by 9 games in the division race and trailed the Yankees by 7.5 in the wild card. Looking back at the standings at the end of August it is hard to believe the magical ending of the year the Rays had but the clutch victories in the month of August really made September possible.
The month of August included 5 walk-off victories and several other impressive victories:
- August 9th: James Shields hurls his 8th CG of the year and shuts out KC 4-0.
- August 12th: Rays belt 5 solo homers off Yankee ace C.C. Sabathia in a 5-1 Rays victory.
- August 17th: David Price goes 8 shutout innings on 3 hits as Rays defeat Red Sox 4-0 in Fenway Park.
- August 19th: Rays get to King Felix in the bottom of the 8th for come from behind 3-2 victory.
The Rays Game of the Month: June (HERE)
The Rays Game of the Month: July (HERE)
Game Highlights After The Jump:
August 4th: Rays come back in 10th, 11th, and 12th Innings and walk-off with a 7-6 victory.
The Rays trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the tenth but Desmond Jennings led off the bottom of the tenth with a homer off of Jays reliever Jon Rauch. The Rays fell behind 6-4 in the top of the 11th inning but Robinson Chirinos hit a 2-out double off Toronto reliever and former Ray Sean Camp to tie the game at 6-6. Chirinos came up again in the bottom of the 12th with 2-out and the bases loaded and singled in the game winning hit to give the Rays a 7-6 victory. This game was the first time in franchise history that the Rays came back twice from deficits in extra innings.
The Rays entered the home half of the 7th inning trailing 1-0. Casey Kotchman delivered an RBI single to plate Ben Zobrist who had walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Royals started Luke Hochevar. The game remained tied into the bottom of the ninth when Casey Kotchman struck again belting a home run to straight away center field on a first pitch 96 mph fastball by Royals reliever Blake Wood to give the Rays a 2-1 victory.
August 10th: Sam Fuld's trip around the bases caps a wild 9th as the Rays walk-off with a 8-7 victory.
This game appeared to be headed for the loss column after Melky Cabrera hit a 3 run homer off Rays reliever Jake McGee to give the Royals a 7-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. The inning began with singles by Matt Joyce and Johnny Damon off Royals reliever Aaron Crowe who was replaced by Royals closer Joakim Soria. Evan Longoria greeted Soria with a run scoring double to cut the lead to 7-4. The Rays cut the lead to 7-6 on a Ben Zobrist ground out which scored Johnny Damon and a Casey Kotchman single which scored Evan Longoria. B.J. Upton struck out swinging to bring Sam Fuld to the plate with a runner at 1st and 2-out. Fuld lined a RBI triple to the gap in right center to score the tying run and scored the winning run when the relay throw skipped by the third baseman.
August 21st: Johnny Damon hits walk-off homer as Rays defeat the Mariners 8-7.
Willie Mo Pena launched a 2-run homer in the 8th inning off of Rays starter James Shield which tied the game at 7-7. Johnny Damon nearly had a grand slam in the 7th inning which was overruled by replay and Damon was awarded a 2-RBI double to give the Rays a 7--5 lead. Damon's next at-bat was leading off the ninth inning and Damon hit the first pitch off the inning from reliever Dan Cortes out for a walkoff homer to give the Rays the 8-7 victory. Joe Maddon held a very funny post-game presser that I feel inclined to include here.
Wade Davis worked 9 strong innings giving up 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 6 and walking 3 but the Rays offense was only able to muster 2 runs of their own off Tigers starter Max Scherzer and 4 Tiger relievers. Joel Peralta worked a scoreless 10th inning setting the stage for the Rays to earn their 5th walkoff victory of the month and 10th of the season. The Rays had runners at 1st and 2nd and 2-out when Sean Rodriguez stepped to the plate. Rodriguez exchanged words with Tigers starter Brad Penny the day before after Penny was upset about Rodriguez hustling too hard on a infield pop out (later Penny claimed he didn't approve of Rodriguez's language). Rodriguez worked a walk to load the bases and bring Elliot Johnson to the plate. Johnson sent a routine grounder to Brandon Inge at 3rd base who threw to 2nd for the force out but Rodriguez hustled to second and beat the throw which allowed Ben Zobrist to score the winning run.